The true story of a risky Swedish mission to liberate thousands of prisoners from the Nazis.
The Swedish Red Cross expedition to the German concentration camps in March–April 1945 was the largest rescue effort inside Germany during WWII. Sponsored by the Swedish government and led by Count Bernadotte of Wisborg, the mission became known for its distinctive buses. Each bus was purposely painted entirely white, except for the Red Cross emblem on the side, so that they would not be mistaken for military targets.
Due to the chaotic conditions during the last weeks of the war, it is impossible to say exactly how many prisoners were liberated by the expedition, but according to conservative figures, by May 4, 1945, at least 17,000 had been transported to Sweden by the so-called White Buses. Of these, some 8,000 were Danes and Norwegians, around 6,000 were Poles, and more than 2,000 were French citizens.
This is the first book to tell the full story of this remarkable and hazardous operation. It also details Bernadotte’s harrowing expedition to Ravensbrück concentration camp and his extraordinary negotiations with Heinrich Himmler, the Reichsführer-SS who was in charge of the German concentration camps, and tells how, during the course of these discussions, Himmler also made an offer of German surrender—an offer that was rejected by the Allies.
Includes never before published photographs